As a traveling musician, some nights you play for 15,000 and others you perform for 50. Depending on what you’re made of – they’re all the same and you appreciate the moment.

Last Friday, Folk Soul Revival released their third record ‘Prompting The Dapperness’ and celebrated with a performance at The Grey Eagle in Asheville, NC. Although the crowd was thin, the band was thrilled for the fans who made their way to this North Carolina outpost (despite the torrential downpour that fell throughout the night).

In the background, their online fans were applauding too as the new record topped several charts on Itunes – outpacing Justin Beiber before the night was over.

Along for the ride in the new ‘Average White Van,’ I met the Folk Soul band at the Waffle House in Boones Creek. We moved all the instruments into the back and Daniel Vanover was designated driver commandeering the Ford through through the monsoon over Sam’s Gap arriving at The Grey Eagle with a few hours to spare.

The Eagle is a popular listening room in Asheville and the setting for hundreds of popular performers over the past several years. Inside the door, black and white photos from prior shows from prior shows and you’re immediately in a room flanked by a hardwood floor and a wide stage with room with a capacity for about 400.

In a dark corner from left side of the stage, Dave Eggar was playing the grand piano. Surrounded by a few musicians, he was wearing a maroon coat, a tweed hat and thrashed the keys with a classical motif like a mad-man. Eggar is a good friend of of Folk Soul and a featured performer on the second album, “Words Off A Tongue.”

I first met Dave a couple of years ago when he performed a benefit at the Paramount Theatre in Bristol. A musical prodigy, a graduate of Harvard and Julliard, it’s hard not to feel anxious in his presence. Listening to supersonic scales and abstract rhythms on the piano were intimating, but Eggar is a natural gentleman with a humility one might not expect from such an amazing musician.

After we had our instruments on stage and worked through a couple of songs for our sound check, I had a few moments to speak with Dave and he’s just as intense in conversation as he is on stage.

It wasn’t that long ago that Dave came to Bristol and offered to play a free show at Machivelli’s in Bristol. It was there he fell in love with the region. He’s been on a qweust to merge two forms of music and his tenure in the South has influenced his latest recording.

As he states on his website,

“My imagination has always been captivated by the music and culture of Jamaica and Appalachia. These journeys to Kingston and Big Stone Gap were truly a life altering experience for me. I am especially proud of the music that has been produced as a result of our efforts.”

Dave recently arrived Asheville from Sun Studios in Memphis and over the past few months has been traveling through Taiwan with a philharmonic orchestra.

As Eggar’s musicians began their sound check, I sat with Charles Fontaine and Daniel Davis to sample a barbecue dinner and a Blue Ribbon.

There were several fans from the congreation waiting outside tonight and it was interesting for me to meet Will Trotter who follows the band regularly. He’s a student at ETSU studying graphic design and shows up most everywhere the band performs shooting photos and video.

Jerry Mynant was a new introduction that sparked another creative link to Allun Cormier. Jerry is a fan of the band and inspired by Cormier who always comes up in conversation at any Folk Soul gig.

Evidently, Mynant is putting together a film documentary about the late singer/songwriter who influenced much of the music in East Tennessee over the past several years. Considering his passion about the artist, it will be interesting to see how this effort gains momentum in the coming months.

One of my favorite moments of the night was sitting with Daniel Davis in the green room of the Grey Eagle. The air-conditioner was out in the venue tonight and the main room was a little stuffy with the humidity. However, the small dressing room was damp with cool air and felt much like a basement with a small window-unit humming in the background.

Davis was relaxing on a worn out couch with one leg hanging over the sofa’s arm. With his baseball cap on his head and an acoustic guitar in his lap, he was playing several new songs he’s been working on. There was something uniquely distinctive about this moment too. After all, I had heard some amazing, technical music earlier.

What I heard though spoke volumes to the essence of Folk Soul Revival. It’s not so much the virtuoso prowess of this band that’s garnered such a large fan base. Instead, it’s the personal way their songs speak so clearly to the congregation and Davis is one of the reason’s the band makes such a connection.

His eyes were closed and he sang two new songs (“Daddy’s Eyes” and “Shit Town”) from beginning to end – citing the working titles and whether or not the band liked the songs. Each one sounded like it would eventually make its way from the acoustic to the full band set.

Unfortunately, the crowd hadn’t grown that much by the time Eggar began his set. The music was certainly amazing as Dave worked amazing improvisations on the cello with his guests in sync with every riff. Dan Witt, drummer for Folk Soul had a rare opportunity to jam with Eggar too as he played drums to an impromptu song called ‘Piggy, Piggy.’

Dave is spontaneous wherever he performs and tonight he had a local East Tennesseean Anthony Wayne on stage and a terrific songwriter in Amber Rubarth.

Amber was recently awarded the grand prize from NPR’s songwriter’s competition this year and wooed the crowd with a wonderful voice and spellbinding lyrics. She’s a warm compliment to the bohemian qualities in Edgar’s band and certain to continue to impress audiences as she continues her journey.

By the time Folk Soul was ready for their set, the room may have had close to 50 people on hand. Justin Venable didn’t seem to let that bother him though as he encouraged everyone to get closer and dressed in his red-and-white baseball jersey, he kicked off the set with ‘Derailed’ from the new record.

Daniel and Justin did an amazing job as front-men for the band tonight. The size of the crowd mattered very little. Even though the stage was flanked by four or five deep, they all seemed to embrace the band as they sang the new lyrics throughout the set.

A couple of highlights of the night was a loose funky jam on the Bill Wither’s song “Use Me” and a rousing closing set with “Chinatown” and “Sweet Virginia.” As usual, the congregation were as loud as the band while Will Trotter captured video of the performance.

Even though the crowd was small, the excitement over the new record and the trending on ITunes and Twitter seemed to thrust the night with anticipation among the band. And despite the crappy weather, the folks who arrived (some from as far as South Carolina) made for an amazing show that ushered two encores including ‘Kirstie Alley Ate my Show” and “Honey Pie,” a Langhorne Slim cover.

There were a number of album sales tonight too as the shiny new CDs seemed to go into everybody’s purse before they left the Grey Eagle.

As the fans started to mingle near the door after the show, the streets were a river as the rain continued to pour into the night. Out front, a few ladies were dancing in the rain, their hair matted against their dresses, barefooted and smiling from ear-to-ear after another great show at The Grey Eagle.

Driving back over the mountains, the guys were still wide awake and anxious. Their faces were aglow as the screens from their smart phones were revealing Facebook and Twitter feeds about the new album.

We arrived back at the Boones Creek Waffle House around 3am and it didn’t take long to unpack the van and call it a night.

Over the next several weeks, the band has some important shows to debut the new record and local fans will catch up with them at the Mumford and Sons show in Bristol on August 11th. They’ll also make their way out west to Arkansas and celebrate a couple of weddings as Daniel Vanover and Brandon Sturgill tie the knot.

I’m certain there is a lot more in store for these guys too as the fans learn the music and show up in greater numbers to sing the new songs and share the music with their friends as Folk Soul continues to welcome new fans into the congreation.